There are many reasons why October is one of the best times to visit Zimbabwe, and we’re here to provide you with a comprehensive guide that covers the weather, game viewing, travel essentials, and more.
Let’s not beat around the bush. October is the hottest month of the year in Zimbabwe – no doubt about it! With daytime temperatures of 35°C and above, October is often referred to as ‘Suicide Month’ by local Zimbabweans. The eagerly-anticipated rains are due in November. The heat has gradually been building throughout the year and will reach its annual peak in October.
The lower-lying areas, in particular, can be extremely dry and sweltering in October. This includes places such as the Zambezi Valley, Lake Kariba, and our very own Victoria Falls.
But don’t despair! The temperature does drop substantially at night, with mid-to-low 20s prevalent once the sun sets. What’s more, most of the hotels in Zimbabwe are equipped with air-conditioning and swimming pools that provide some much-needed respite from the heat throughout the day.
The advantages of no rain are that we have clear blue skies, lots of sunshine, and fewer mosquitoes. It also means that the conditions are perfect for the magnificent sunsets only Africa can deliver. Although it is technically high season, most tourist areas won’t be as crowded.
One of the biggest draws to Zimbabwe during October is the spectacular game viewing. Due to the fact that the month is both dry and hot, wildlife tend to concentrate around waterholes and rivers, quenching their thirst throughout the day.
Generally, vegetation is less dense at this time of year and allows the animals to be easily spotted whilst on a game drive in one of the many Zimbabwean national parks. Specifically, Hwange National Park, which is situated only 2 hours from Victoria Falls, is a fantastic place to view game in October. It attracts massive elephant herds that gather around artificially pumped waterholes.
Game drives in Victoria Falls, arranged by Ilala Lodge Hotel, are available in the morning and in the afternoon as well. Standard game drives are 3-hours in duration; 4-hour trips can be arranged and include a 3-course dinner with refreshments. In addition, full day trips can be arranged and feature a game-viewing cruise along the Zambezi River, lunch, and a richly-rewarding game drive.
River cruises, on their own, are a fantastic way to view wildlife, as animals can often be seen drinking from the water’s edge. The newly-launched Ra-Ikane II is a luxurious way to explore the Zambezi River. This unique boat is able to transport guests close to the banks, slowly and quietly, so as not to disturb the game.
October in Zimbabwe is also a beautiful time to view the Falls themselves. With water levels low, the spray from the waterfall won’t obstruct your view and even the bottom of the cascade can often be seen.
Upper Zambezi canoe trips, elephant-back rides, and lion walks are all exciting activities to be experienced this month, as well as the regular thrillers like bungee jumping, zip lining, and helicopter flights. Unfortunately, October is not the most ideal time for white water rafting, as the water level is simply too low.
Last but not least, make sure to look out for the gorgeous jacaranda trees that line various streets in Zimbabwe, covering the ground with their vibrant purple colour.
• Light clothing (dresses, shorts, short-sleeved t-shirts and shirts, skirts, etc.)
• Mostly open shoes (Bring along a pair of closed shoes for bush walks)
• Lots of sunscreen
• Wide-brimmed hats
• UV-protected sunglasses
• Binoculars (For all that game viewing)
What are you waiting for? Email email@example.com, or phone +27 (0) 76 4722116 to book your October stay with Ilala Lodge, today.
Mandy Yolanda Dlamini